Tag Archives: rice

Failures and successes

30 May

I don’t document many kitchen failures on this blog. Truthfully I don’t make a lot of terribly risky things, so that’s part of the reason. However, so as not to be disingenuous, today’s post will spotlight two not-so-successful endeavors of the past week. The first:

Um, yeah. Yummy? Blech. This was a certifiable vegan overnight oats failure. I mixed 1/2 cup of oats, 1 cup of water, and a few frozen blueberries into a tupperware container in the fridge overnight, assuming they would absorb all the liquid. Yeah, not so much. Instead, my bowl was filled with soggy, liquidy oats. Not appetizing. This was Monday morning, and I showed you in my last post the oatmeal I made my lazy way. That night, I made stab number two at overnight oats, which was far, far more successful:

I combined 1/2 cup of oats with 3/4 cup of homemade almond milk and half a mashed banana. Oh, and blueberries again. The result was still a little liquidy, but it was delicious. At work, I topped with Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter and a splash of coconut milk creamer.

So tasty and soothing. I highly recommend.

Another failure was my lunches for the week. I thought a little snack plate featuring lettuce wraps would be fun:

Looks pretty enough, right? It was a fail, pure and simple. Clockwise from top left, you have lettuce from the farmers market, white bean spread, sugar snap peas from the farmers market, chopped pepitas, and Chipotle Brown Rice. The bean dip is based on the White Bean Aioli from Veganomicon, and it’s just not that tasty. I wanted to like it: navy beans, garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice — what’s not to like? There’s just something off about it. Maybe it was too thin? Here’s it wrapped up:

I think I failed at bringing enough food, too. That’s why I included some of the rice intended for book club. Speaking of the rice, book club was cancelled due to the threat of imminent death (i.e. scary tornado warnings following the Joplin disaster), so the rice is ours. Woo hoo! It came out crazy spicy, but I love it. Here’s how you make it. The chipotle sauce is borrowed heavily from Veganomicon, by the way.

Chipotle Brown Rice

  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice
  • Half a large onion, chopped
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 chipotle peppers, minced
  • 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from the peppers
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
Cook the rice the way you like. I’m lazy and use a rice cooker. When rice is done, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sautee, stirring frequently, until both have softened, about 10 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir for about 30 seconds. It’ll smell incredible.
Remove from the heat and let it cool slightly. Then puree it in a blender, food processor, or in a bowl using an immersion blender (my method of choice). When fairly smooth — a few chunks are fine — mix into the brown rice, stirring well. Adjust for salt, pepper, and cumin to taste.
This was delicious on its own. My favorite, though, was topped with some of X’s Spicy Portobello Chili and nutritional yeast.
Spicy, savory heaven.

Chilly weather food

18 Nov

As if you needed another reason to enter my giveaway of Veganomicon, I present my lunch this week.

Stuffed bell pepper and dirty rice. Both recipes are bastardized versions of a couple found in – yes – Veganomicon. Below are the versions I used.

Spicy Stuffed Bell Peppers (based on the Creole Stuffed Peppers)

  • 2 large red bell peppers
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 jalapeno, cut in half and sliced finely (seeded if you don’t like the spicy)
  • 1/2 cup finely diced carrots
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 15-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz can white beans (I used great northern but would recommend navy or black-eyed peas — the original recipe calls for the latter)

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray an 8×8″ baking dish. Boil a large pot of water. Meanwhile, cut a slit down the side of each bell pepper from the stem to the bottom. Remove the seeds and membranes. I find it easiest to remove the stem, too, but you can leave it if you like the look. Dunk the bell peppers into the boiling water for five minutes, then drain them and put them in a bowl of cold water.

Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium to medium-high heat. Cook the jalapenos and carrots for 8 to 10 minutes, until they begin to brown. Add the garlic halfway through. Then add the bay leaves, herbs and spices, sauteing for one more minute. Add the tomatoes and beans (or peas), stir, and cover for about 10 minutes. If it’s still liquidy, cook for a few more minutes uncovered.

Remove the bay leaf and scoop everything else inside the bell peppers. Bake the peppers in the prepared baking dish for about 25 minutes. Serves 2.

This recipe is supposed to contain onion, but I confess that I was just too lazy to chop one up. That happens more than I should admit. I served the peppers alongside Mostly Clean Rice (based on the Messy Rice from V.con.)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup shallot, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup long-grain brown rice
  • 2 cups water

Heat oil in a medium sauce (or saute) pan over medium heat. Saute the onions for five minutes until they begin to brown. Add the coriander and garlic for two minutes, then add the tomato paste and stir until well distributed. Add salt, pepper, rice, and water. Stir, then cover and bring to a boil. Once it boils, lower the heat, cover, and cook until done, about 35 minutes. If the liquid boils off but the rice isn’t tender, add more 1/4 to 1/2 cup at a time. Cook until rice is the consistency you want. Serves 2.

The instructions of the original recipe state clearly to use crushed coriander seed and NOT dried coriander. However, I did it any way, and the flavor is excellent. Maybe it’s better that way, but I like mine just fine.

As always, my recipes tend to double the spices, so if you’re sensitive to heat, tone them down. If you crave a kick, try my version.

And now get your entries in for your chance to own a copy of Veganomicon!

Riso all’autunno

11 Nov

The other day, I thought about making pasta alla primavera for lunches this week. Then I thought I should use brown rice instead because it’s healthier. Then I remembered that it’s fall, not spring, so maybe I should venture in a more seasonable direction. I checked the calendar of seasonal produce I keep on the fridge and set about throwing together a concept. I’m really happy with how it came out.

And so, I present to you…

Riso all’autunno (or Autumn Rice in ‘Merican)

(based upon the Joy of Cooking recipe I posted about here)

1 small winter squash (I used acorn)
3 medium beets, greens removed
½ pound Brussels sprouts, chopped
½ cup red lentils
3 cloves plus 2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed, divided
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups fresh mushrooms, coarsely chopped (mine were maitakes from Mushroom Planet, but your favorite variety will work)
1 small shallot, minced
1 cup long-grain brown rice
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Pierce the skin of the winter squash six times with a knife or fork. I call this stabbing because it’s way more fun. Wrap the three beets in aluminum foil. Woo hoo, can you feel my heart beet?

Place the squash and beets on an edged baking sheet and stick them in the over for about 15 minutes. You want them slightly cooked but not done.

Remove them and turn off the oven. Meanwhile, grease, spray, or line a 9”x13” baking dish. When the squash is cool enough to handle, cut it in half and scoop out the seeds:

Now chop up just the flesh and toss it in the baking dish. Chop up those beets, while you’re at it, and throw them in, too. Be prepared, however, ‘cause these things bleed:

I promise you won’t stay magenta forever, though. Clean the Brussels sprouts and cut them to the size you like. I bought small-ish ones and chopped them in quarters because I didn’t want huge chunks. Rinse the lentils and pick over them, if necessary. Now toss the veggies and the legumes in with the squash and beets. Top with three cloves of minced garlic:

At this time, preheat the oven to 350° F. Heat a large sauté pan over medium to medium-high heat, and drizzle in the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the mushrooms, remaining two cloves of garlic, and the shallot. Sauté, stirring often, until the mushrooms are softened but the garlic isn’t burned, about five minutes.

Now add the rice and stir until it’s coated. Quickly add the vegetable broth. If all four cups of broth won’t fit, just add two for now and pour the other two into the baking dish.

Let the broth reach a boil, then pour the mixture into the baking dish. Stir everything around so it’s more or less evenly distributed.

Yours will be brothier. I didn’t use enough at the out-set. Stick it in the oven to bake for 50 minutes to an hour. At this point, stir it around and see if the rice is softened. If it isn’t and there’s no more broth, add a little more (about ½ a cup at a time) and put back in the oven for 15 minutes. It’s done when the rice is cooked and the beets and soft enough to eat.

Serves six (or just me six times).

I’m super-duper happy with how this turned out. Let me first say, however, that this is not a quick-and-easy meal. There is precooking and quite a bit of chopping, things I don’t normally do. However, the end result is very rich, hearty, and earthy*, and I think the deliciousness is worth the extra work. I top my servings with some black pepper, but otherwise the veggies speak very well for themselves. I love how bright and autumnal-colored the beets turn the dish. The squash and sprouts add a nice variation in taste and texture. I slightly overcooked my acorn squash, but I don’t really mind the mushiness. The mushrooms aren’t very obtrusive. I only used about 1 ½ cups, so I recommended two in the recipe because I love ‘em. Also, my rice came out somewhat al dente, which I like, but if you don’t, you could boil the rice a little on its own before adding it. The lentils are barely noticeable, but they do ramp up the nutrition of the dish.

I enjoyed a serving of my Riso all’autunno with a lovely salad today. I will post that recipe tomorrow.

*When I say “earthy,” I do, indeed, mean it tastes like dirt, in a good way. Beets, as a matter of fact, taste like dirt. Ain’t no shame in it, but I want to make it clear that I know that. If you don’t tend to like roasted beets, then you won’t like them here since the flavor is pretty pronounced. Sub in something else.

If you make the dish, I’d love to hear about it! This is the first baked rice dish I’ve ever created, and I have to admit I greatly enjoyed it. Oh, and expect to see the keptlovinglyforlaters a few more times; four servings still remain.

Daily eats: September 8, 2010

9 Sep

Here is what I ate today.

Maybe it’s the weather, or maybe it’s the comedown from a long, lovely weekend, but I have not wanted to get out of bed this week. The dark outside my window isn’t helping, either. This morning, I actually thought about changing my schedule so I could sleep longer. Sad. Anyway, when I finally rose and showered, I was too lazy to put forth much effort. A quickie breakfast came to the rescue.

Whole-wheat toast topped with about 1.5 tablespoons of Justin’s Maple Almond Butter and orange juice (about 1.5 cups).

Somehow that tided me over until noon. I don’t know how since I’m usually ravenous by 9:30. Even so, I enjoyed my usual morning tea at work:

Choice Organic Irish Breakfast Tea with about a tablespoon of raw, local honey. The sweet stuff has made a huge difference in me managing my seasonal allergies.

When the lunch hour rolled around, I ate something incredibly tasty:

A spinach salad topped with doctured-up dressing and two yamburgers on the side. Yes, yamburgers. They are based heavily on Gena’s Sweet Potato Chickpea Burgers. The biggest difference is that I used yams from the farmers market, attempted to double the recipe but really just made the proportions off, and possibly undercooked them. Even so, I loved them. They are delicious! I promise I’m not a paid spokesperson for Choosing Raw. She just happens to have posted some very interesting recipes lately, and I gotta eat, ya know.

The salad itself was 2.5 ounces of organic baby spinach, and I made the dressing from about a tablespoon of tahini, two tablespoons of Newman’s Own Low Fat Sesame Ginger Dressing, and 1.5 teaspoons of the most flavorful, nasal-intruding Dijon mustard ever. Yum! The yamburgers were delicious enjoyed in concert with the salad and dressing.

I never did manage to wake up today, which didn’t make me a very useful employee. Don’t tell. During a quick jaunt to return some library books, I stopped at QuikTrip to get some coffee. I figured it had to taste better than the Java Dave’s executive crap sludge coffee service at the office.

Yeah, not so much. QT, I love your gas prices, your commitment to the community, your efficiency, and your fee-free ATMs, but I prefer my coffee a little less bitter, burnt, and acidic. I had maybe half a dozen sips before throwing it out.

I was feeling a blood sugar crash approaching when I got home, but instead of finding something too naughty, I had an unpictured banana. It was yellow. You can imagine it.

In the evening, my love and I enjoyed dinner:

That’s baked brown rice with mushrooms and white bean dip, both from the Joy of Cooking, as well as some baby carrots (Bunny Luv! Flashbacks to my childhood). I topped the dip with some nutritional yeast and both dishes with plenty of black pepper. The rice especially was incredible. We used shiitake mushrooms from Mushroom Planet, a vendor at the Cherry Street Farmers Market. If you’re local, you have to try some of her fungi. I am especially enamored of the maitakes. So, so good.

Have I mentioned my birthday is Friday? That I’ll soon finish my climb over the hill that is 25? I hope 26 treats me well. Anyway, I decided to bring cookies to work tomorrow in celebration. Other people bake on their own birthdays, right?

Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles. Oh mama. This is one of my favorite quick, easy, and unbelievably delicious cookie recipes. Snickerdoodle is a bit of a misnomer since they do not have the crunch or the cream of tartar bite that the name usually implies. Instead, these are pure, chocolatey heaven. I had two. Ok, three. And the batter equivalent of at least one more.

Also, look at how differently my two cookie sheets bake these things:

They don’t even look like the same kind of cookie.

So that was my Wednesday in food. It was a fairly balanced day, if you ignore all the cookies, but who would want to do that?

Brown Rice and Lentil Pilaf

3 Sep

Tonight was the third and final night of our brown rice and lentil pilaf. Not a single eating of this dish involved a reasonable dinner hour, either. Because we adapted a recipe originally calling for white rice, the cooking time skyrocketed. I think the earliest we consumed this meal was 8:30 one night, and no, we are not one of those sophisticated, pseudo-European couples. I tend to be ready for dinner when your grandma is. However, I will declare that this was worth the work, though I’m glad we made three nights’ worth of the rice in one batch.

Brown Rice and Lentil Pilaf

Serves 6 (adapted from Joy of Cooking)


  • 1/2 cup lentils
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 cup long-grain brown rice
  • 1 quart vegetable broth (or water)
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Rinse and pick over lentils. Boil water in a medium saucepan. Stir in the lentils and boil for 10 minutes (uncovered). Drain the lentils and set aside. Then heat oil in a large saucepan over low heat, adding the garlic and cumin seeds until they sizzle, about a minute. Then add the lentils and the brown rice. Stir until they’re coated, about a minute. Then add at least three cups of vegetable broth (or water) and the salt. Keep an eye on the rice and add more liquid as needed. Cover, boil, then reduce heat to medium-low until the rice is tender and the moisture is absorbed, about 45 minutes. Let stand for five minutes uncovered. At this point, toast walnuts in a pan over medium heat until lightly browned and fragrant, about four minutes. Serve up pilaf topped with toasted walnuts.

If I had made this solo, I would have reduced the oil to one tablespoon, but the recipe is delicious as is. We decided to accompany it with steamed broccoli, about 1/2 a pound each (weight before cooking). I topped mine with a substantial pinch of nutritional yeast and black pepper;

my beloved opted for lemon juice (unpictured, but I bet you can imagine it).

This proved to be a substantial but not overwhelming meal. According to SparkPeople, mine had 495 calories, 8 grams of fat, 21 grams of protein, and 18 grams of fiber.

Do you prefer brown or white rice? I no longer purchase the pale stuff, but I always enjoy it at Mediterranean and Indian restaurants. I still think I prefer brown rice, however.